Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour: The Skin Map

The Skin Map (Bright Empires)
Lawhead strikes again!

The Skin Map, by Stephen R. Lawhead, first book of the Bright Empire Series, is the feature novel for this action.  And by the way, I call all November blog tours "action."

This book is not to be confused with Skin Disease Can Provide an External Map to Internal Illness by Sharon Worcester.

You can see Lawhead's blog action.  I call all author blogs action.

I'm seeing mixed actions (a.k.a., "reviews") on this one.  Having been busy with school, I shunned the reviewer's copy, so I have no opinion of my own. The book is about a man and his girlfriend who get sucked into alternate universes--different ones. The hero ends up running around with a cabal of time travelers trying to keep an important map out of the hands of an evil villain while also, presumably, trying to find his lost girlfriend.

Let's kick around the blog tour and see if we can find any action.

Matt Mikalatos gives a brief discussion of "ley lines," a concept Lawhead uses in the novel, based on the new agey theory that ancient archaeological sites are laid out along lines of mystical energy:

Watkins' theories were met with nearly universal dismissal until, several decades later, several New Age authors latched on to the idea that (depending on the author) spiritual power or electromagnetic fields were moving along these geographic lines.  And, they've been fodder for fantasy novels, science fiction shows, New Age rituals and comic books ever since.

Lawhead uses them for his own purposes, like everyone always has.  In Lawhead's book, ley lines are somewhat like fault lines... places where separate worlds and/or dimensions rub up against one another and create the possibility of traveling between worlds. [more...]

Shannon McDermott gives a thorough review:

Another element of Lawhead’s style is that it is British. The Skin Map is permeated by Britishness. My reading of modern fiction has been limited to American books, so that really caught my notice. References to English history and geography are sprinkled throughout. When these people talk about the Great Fire, they don’t have Chicago or San Francisco in mind. The English speaking style is noticeably foreign. Tube station? Oyster card? Tump? Nobbled? Kerbstone? Sprogs?

The Skin Map is a unique book. It has a sense of solidity, of depth. I reached the end with a feeling of satisfaction and appreciation. Don’t mistake me: Spaceships and aliens and explosions and strange, new worlds are a romp. With the right author, it can be profound, too. But The Skin Map is valuable in its own way – and that way is historical science fiction, a multiverse adventure with modern Londoners besieged by life, Egyptian priests, Bohemian alchemists, and English aristocrats of multiple centuries. [more...]

McDermott also has a spoiler-laden post for the unwary.

Morgan L. Busse has a three-part breakdown of the book. In the third one she briefly discusses the novel's spiritual elements:

will say I did not see a lot of God in the book. And I think I can safely say none of the main characters are Christians. There was a quick definition of God that threw up some red flags but I’m not sure if Stephen’s intentions were to show this was the belief of the scientific men he was portraying. Here is the quote:

“All the universe is permeated, upheld, knit together, conjoined, encompassed, and contained by the Elemental Father, which we recognise as an all-pervading, responsive, and intelligent field of energy, eternal and inexhaustible, which is nothing less than the ground of our very being and the wellspring of our existence- that which in ages past and present men have been pleased to call God.” (pages 56-57) [more...]

Here's the blog tour:

Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson
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